October 2012
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Chiang Rai is the capital of Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand – Part 2

Chiang Rai is the capital of Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand.

Overview of Chiang Rai

• The town is the main commercial center serving the Golden Triangle border region of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.
• It is an excellent base for exploring the region.
• Chiang Rai is essentially a service city for the surrounding province.
• The character is distinctly Northern and is distinct to Chiang Mai to the south.

Museums of Chang Rai

1. Hill tribe Museum and Education Center
• This is located in the center of town.
• This museum is aimed at promoting a better understanding of hill tribes and their cultures.
• The dusty low-key displays include:
– housing styles
– tools
– utensils
– traditional hunting
– fishing
– agricultural equipment
• The Center also runs their own hilltribe tours.
• Here, the money actually goes to employ and help the tribesmen.
• Open: 08:30 to 18:00
• There is a branch of Bangkok’s Cabbages and Condoms restaurant downstairs.

2. Oub Kham Museum
• Tambon Rob Wiang is near Den Ha market which is one kilometer from the center of town.
• The collection embraces objects used in the royal courts such as Lanna, Khum Chao Phare and Khum Chao Chiang Mai.
• Some parts are from northeast Myanmar, southwest China and Vietnam which are about 500-1,000 years old.
• Visitors can admire 120 year-old ancient fabrics, Sin Mai Kham-golden silk skirt-from the Mandalay, the golden throne, king’s golden costumes and silver ornaments.
• A golden bowl used by royals, is a masterpiece.
• All show the glory of the kingdom in the past.
• It opens daily from 09.00-17.00 hrs.
• Admission for adults is 200 THB and for children 100 THB.

3. Cultural Hall Museum
• This museum is near the TAT building on Singhaklai Road is a large white building that has a huge statue of King Mongkut at the main entrance
• Visitors can find prehistoric tools, two medieval cannons, costume examples, ancient pottery and examples of ancient Lanna literature in the Dhamma script
• There are also videos available, a model of the city and a display of five major areas of Tai culture
• The fee for adults is only 10 THB, for children 5 THB.

4. Princess Mother ’90 Museum
• This museum is a sizable fascinating pavilion dedicated to the life of the beloved Princess Mother.
• On display are fine collections of:
– Lacquer boxes
– Wood pulleys
– Pottery
– weaving equipment
– Some old handwritten folded texts with drawings
• Admission is free.

5. Other museums and galleries
Haw Shan Art Gallery – out NongBua Road, across from Family Bakery, in a large, dark-wood, Shan-style pavilion
Lanna Museum, at Rong Rian Ban Sang Khong Yai, just southwest of Chiang Rai Hospital at an elementary school
The Chiang Rai Cultural Center is just north of the new airport, to the other side of the highway, next door to Rajapat Teacher’s College.
Mae Fah Luang Art & Cultural Park, 5km west of town, has lovely two lakes, a barge and several large Shan-style small ponds.
• There is interesting Haw Kam Golden Temple with two Shan halls containing accouterments collected by Princess Maha Chakri.
There are examples of Lanna craftsmanship:
– Seven-armed candelabra
– Buddha Images
– Wooden alters
– Embroided cloths for wrapping Buddhist scriptures
– Carved wood screens
– Swords and monks’ fans

Other places to see in Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai Beach
• The Kok River (????????) flows through the town of Chiang Rai and is 130 kilometers long.
• Chiang Rai Beach lies on the banks of this river and is a popular picnic spot in summer.
• Long-tailed boats and cruise can be made from town to travel along both sides of lovely sceneries.
• Stops can be made at hill tribe villages of the Akha, Lisu, Lahu and Karen, etc.
• Elephant rides are also available to see the surrounding area.
• Gate of Siam is on the border with Laos.

Phucheefah – great sunset view
• Namtok Khun Kon Forest Park can be reached by taking Highway No.1211 from town.
• After 18 kilometers, turn right and proceed on for another 12 kilometers.
• The highest and most scenic waterfall in Chiang Rai, Khun Kon, is some 70 meters in height.
• Along the route to the site are cool, shady natural surroundings suitable for relaxation and nature walk.
The King Mengrai the Great Memorial is located in the town on the intersection leading to Mae Chan.

Things to do in Chiang Rai

• Organize a trekking tour to the hill-tribes.
• Visit Mae Sai and the Golden Triangle.
• Views of City Buffalo Horn Hill has a splendid overview over Chiang Rai.
• Waterfalls and Hot Springs Kun Korn is a 70 meter waterfall – about 15 km south of town, take a right at the wooden sign of the same name.
• Rock Climbing NW of town.
• Golf
• Crouching Lion Hill Located 1 Km west of town, directly across the Mae Kok River from Pattaya Noi.
• On its west end there’s a Buddha Cave and a pleasant picnic/park area.
• Wanna Farm is an interesting place about 5 km East of Chiang Rai on 1020.

Festivals in Chiang Rai

1. Wai Sa Phaya Mengrai or Phokhun Mengrai Maharat Festival
• This festival is held during 23 January – 1 February.
• One should see the Buang Suang worshipping ceremony which commemorates Phokhun Mengrai Maharat.
• The Fair is organised by the Chiang Rai provincial office Tel: 0 5371 1612.

2. Lychee Fair
• This fair is held around the middle of May every year.
• There is a float competition, lychee beauty contest and booths of many local products at the provincial stadium of Chiang Rai.

3. Solar Fair hosted by Boomerang Park
It is an annual Solar Fair that showcases products and services related to alternative power, organic growing and alternative building ideas.

Best time to visit / climate

• Thailand is largely tropical.
• It’s hot and humid all year around with temperatures in the 28-35°C range (82-95°F).
• From November to the end of February, it doesn’t rain much and temperatures are at their lowest.
• From March to June, Thailand swelters in temperatures as high as 40°C (104°F).
• From July to October, although it only really gets underway in September, tropical monsoons hit most of the country.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

1. By plane
• Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport is located on Phaholyotin Road 8 kilometres from the centre of Chiang Rai.
• The airport is served by AirAsia , Orient Thai and Thai Airways to Bangkok.
• There are now daily flights to/from Macau operated by Orient Thai Airlines.

2. By Bus
• There are two bus stations in Chiang Rai.
• The old bus station and new bus station.
• There is a songthaew’ (officially a “minibus”) connecting the two bus terminals.
• It costs 10 baht per person and takes 15 minutes.
• Some drivers ask you to pay more if there are fewer than 10 passengers, despite what the official price list posted inside the songthaew says.
• You can just wait for the next one and pay 10 baht.
• Old Bus Station (Bus Terminal 1) is located in the center of town.
• Buses coming from Chiang Rai province stop here.
• From here, you take the bus south to Phayao, and north to Mae Sai.

3. Chiang Khong, on the Laos border
• Buses leave every hour or so and have the destination clearly marked.
• The journey takes two and a half hours and costs 70 THB on local bus.
• New Bus Station (Bus Terminal 2), (7km south of the city, just off the super highway).
• Buses from elsewhere in Thailand stop here.

4. By Train
• The nearest train station is at Chiang Mai.

5. By Car
• Chiang Rai is about 820 km north of Bangkok and is easily accessible from Bangkok via highways # 1 / # 32 and from Chiang Mai on highway # 118.
• For car, driver and guide hire, try Thailand Hilltribe Holidays, who offer private itineraries that cover the main sights and off-the-beaten-path areas in Chiang Rai

Some Travel Books about Thailand

Lonely Planet Discover Thailand Thailand PhotoMazing Thailand

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at tripadvisor.in
Hotels at asiarooms.com

Blogs / Sites about Thailand – Chiang Rai

Blogs at wikipedia.org
Blogs at travelblog.org
Blogs at travbuddy.com
Blogs and reviews at lonelyplanet.com

Images and photos of Thailand – Chiang Rai

Images at google.com
Images at tripadvisor.in
Images at asian-images.photoshelter.com
Images at trekearth.com

Videos of Thailand – Chiang Rai

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